photo: Marthijn Uittenbogaard
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Is sex with children mostly about enjoying power over a defenseless person?

© 23 August 2018 Marthijn Uittenbogaard

In the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Elma Drayer wrote that sexual abuse has not much to do with sex, but it is has mostly to do with power [1]. Sex is not the goal, it is the instrument to achieve this goal. The old feminist wisdom, as she writes. Roman Catholic priests and so on, did not had sexual contact with children because of the troubles they experienced due to the celibacy rules, but because they just liked to enjoy their power over defenseless creatures. This is Elma Drayer's view.

First, let me say something positive about her column. In the first half she writes about the fact that women, like men, are also capable of evil things and that they are also capable of sexual abuse. She is not a person that shouts: 'All men are evil and all women are angels.' When women will be in charge everywhere, this will not bring us a paradise on earth. Women will also do bad, egoistic, hypocrite things, just like men do.

Unfortunately, women on top will not bring us paradise.

I myself think that women and men are not so different as most people think we are. And if the circumstances are more equal, we will behave more equal too. But I'm not denying the differences. These exist too. Also, some men are more like women in their minds and vice verse. If you even can describe what makes someone a man and what makes someone a woman... I'm a man, but when everyone says I am not allowed to be a woman, then I'm a woman. Not that I'm in a wrong body, but just to show I dislike being forced in a box.

But then her part about power. Is all sex abuse - and in her eyes I'm afraid every sex between an adult and a child is sex abuse - based on enjoying the power over the other? If so, why did the priests not enjoy only hitting the kids or humiliating them? The prison time, when you hit a child, is usually zero. If sex has almost no meaning in the enjoyment, then why have the sex? And what about a man having sex with a woman? Is that also mostly based on enjoying power? And has the man this power, then why does a woman want to be abused by him? And what about two men, or two women?

Is it impossible that two people really love each other and that they don't want to hurt the other in any way, physically and mentally? Why would this not be possible? It is very dark to live believing such a thing as impossible (or as something extremely rare).

Do many grown ups have such a terrible relationship full of power abuse, lies and hypocrisy, that they think: 'If I protect children from these kind of relationships, I'm not so bad, because I only am dishonest to my grown up partner?' If so, that these adult relationships are usually far from ideal, then is this a result of our upbringing? Maybe because we learn wrong things from an early age on, about relationships and interactions with other people.

Is the power difference a thing an adult enjoys when he or she fantasize about (or has sex with) children? Yes it can be, but not by definition. I have some dark fantasies sometimes about things I should not do in real life with a child. I have also sometimes extreme fantasies about sex with other adults. Not always as the one in power, sometimes as the 'victim'. But I have also feelings of love. When you know a person in real life it is easier to have feelings of love, than when you just jerk off to a picture of someone you do not know at all. And when I read books by De Sade, I never was horny, because sexual fantasies are very different from person to person and his extreme writings did not turn me on. He also wrote about children, so that was not the point. He did not much (maybe not at all) write about love in his books. But he writings are only a part of the greater picture when it comes to sexual relationships.

I wonder if Elma Drayer is afraid of love? To give love. Or to receive love. Because, why can't there be no love in the relationships between children and adults? In the sexual relationships. When children and adults are allowed such relationships, the power shifts in a way to the children. They will have more power than ever. This is not what society likes and it would, for instance, turn the school system upside down. Yes, there would also be some negative effects. A teacher that likes a boy or a girl more than other children and this teacher acts because of this unfair. But would this be a new problem? Every child knows which children are the teacher's favorite.

About the priests. Did they just want power over their victims? It's not this black and white. Some victims are no victims at all. I read a couple of, not many, texts where someone said he liked his sexual experience with a priest as a child. But I think that a lot of these sexual encounters are not what I call pedophilia. You have many hypocrite priests who mostly think sex is something bad and a sin, but they can't resist their feelings and they think - balls full of sperm wanting to get out - maybe God will not see everything... I think the circumstances were full of secrecy, shame and guilt. And the children felt the same. And he or she was not allowed to speak about it (not about sexuality at all) and if it did speak out, the reaction usually was: 'How dare you say such a thing?' Because sex was taboo and keeping silent was the best to do. If not, you were the one bringing up the uneasiness about sexuality.

Having written this down, should we strongly condemn all these priests? No. This condemnation is also very hypocritical and in a lot of times a total lie. People condemn because they have to do so openly. Do we really believe them? Why should we not strongly condemn all these (mostly) men? Because in a way they are victims of their upbringing. Did they learn positive things about relationships and about sexuality? They did not. Was homosexuality a sin back then? Yes is was. Was all sex a taboo? Yes it was. Was all sex done secretly? Yes it was. Secret gay sex between a 30-year-old and an 18-year-old: it was a sin. And now in the twenty-first century, we must say the sex back then between the 30-year-old and the 18-year-old was OK and that between the 30-year-old and the 15-year old we must punish with decades in prison? Where is the common sense and the humanity in these cases I wonder.

When children have more rights; when children are allowed to choose their (sexual) relationships; when this all can be done in the open, then sexual abuse will decline drastically. Start with learning children to be honest. I'm sure honest people will have more empathy than dishonest persons.

[1] Column 'Te vaak vergeten we dat vrouwen gewoon mensen zijn - geneigd én in staat tot al het goede, tot al het kwade';; de Volkskrant; 21 August 2018

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"Wees eerlijk en laat zien wie je bent."
"Kinderen moeten veel meer zeggenschap krijgen."
"Alle zedenwetten moeten weg."
"Pedohaat heeft niets met seks te maken."
"We gaan verkeerd met seksualiteit om."
"Hoe zinniger wat je zegt, hoe bozer men wordt."
"Zonder pedofilie zou de wereld veel armer zijn."